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ISLAMABAD: Roadmap to eliminate energy deficit in Pakistan

By Tahir Khalil

The Energy Sector Task Force Report (ESTFR) of the FODP provides a roadmap to eliminate energy deficit in Pakistan in the next three years.

It includes a detailed set of recommendations and an action plan to enable the country to achieve energy security and sustainability.

The report recommends five key areas of reforms and investments to sustain Pakistan’s energy sector and expand its capacity to meet the present and future requirements. The ultimate objective for the energy sector is to achieve complete financial and technical sustainability. The immediate objective is to eliminate loadshedding in the next three years.

During ESTFR’s presentation on 17th of July, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke highlighted five key reforms areas in Pakistan’s energy sector. The five key areas relate to strengthening the energy sector’s governance and regulation, rationalising pricing and energy subsidies, developing energy finance capability, maintaining energy efficiency into energy policy and fast tracking investment projects for energy security.

Holbrooke recalled the FODP was created two years ago to galvanise international support for Pakistan’s democratically elected civilian government. It was meant to match international expertise and support with Pakistani policy planning and reform efforts.

A key part of each of the reforms frameworks in the policy reforms that Pakistan has agreed is need to undertake to move to self-sufficiency, Holbrooke remarked.

He commended the work of the Energy Sector Task Force (ESTF), chaired by Water and Power Secretary Shahid Rafi and Asian Development Bank Director Rune Stroem. It brought together an impressive group of energy experts from members of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan. The leadership of the ADB was instrumental in completing this task.

Holbrooke, while addressing Shahid Rafi, welcomed and endorsed his presentation and his government’s commitment to implement the approach outlined in ESTFR. The policy and management reforms are a crucial complement to the investments it envisages. He added he endorsed the recommendations made in the report, which suggest a systematic, integrated approach to resolve the impediments to Pakistan’s energy solvency phased over the next three years.

“The key to progress will be the commitment to implement badly needed reforms, and the commitment of the FODP to help facilitate both public and private international investment in the energy sector,” he added.

In April 2009, international donors pledged over $5.2 billion at the Tokyo Donor’s Conference to make sure that necessary social and development expenditures were not curtailed as a result of the need for economic austerity measures required under Pakistan’s agreement with the IMF.

According to latest US record, the international community has disbursed or obligated $1.7 billion of the $5.2 billion pledges made at the Tokyo Conference. The US, for example, has delivered $520 million of $1 billion pledge the US made in Tokyo, for social support, health, education, energy, and water, and the US will deliver the remainder as promised, Holbrooke concluded.

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